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Thread: Qi vs Sword: your preference?

  1. #1
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    Default Qi vs Sword: your preference?

    In SPW we see that Huashan had a major dispute over which should be the primary focus of their sword skills: qigong or techniques.

    As YBQ explained, the sword skills are faster to learn and very effective, while the qi users need more time to make progress. If I recall, he stated that at 10 years of training, the sword user would easily prevail, after 20 years it would depend on the combatants, and from 20 years onwards the Qi users would gradually overtake the sword users.

    We saw that Dugu had his own perspectives, as he used both supreme sword techniques as well as powerful inner energy, (9 swords and Heavy Iron Sword). In my own opinion, Huashan should have incorporated the factions, similar to the clean and dirty cloth factions in the Beggars clan. In most martial arts, you'd want a 70:30 split between your essentials and supplementary skills, so if a Huashan student chose to do that, they could choose to invest 70% into either Qi or Sword, and the remaining 30% into the other.

    Personally I'm a fan of using Qi, bit that doesn't mean I treat it as superior to technique users: if I didn't have techniques, I couldn't capitalise on opportunities, and if I didn't have inner strength, I couldn't opt to push for victories.

    What are your views?

  2. #2
    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    It's funny, because for me, it differs depending on whose universe it occurs in.

    For Jin Yong stories, inner power/chi, because so many characters appear to be good at it.

    For Gu Long stories, weapons (swords), because so many characters appear to be good at using them.

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    Moderator Ren Wo Xing's Avatar
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    Two thoughts.

    First, the qi-vs-sword debate in Huashan was an artificially induced one, brought about by a disagreement over the correct way to interpret the KHBD which the two Huashan brothers stole from Shaolin. Prior to this, presumably, the two sides were in harmony, and in fact Yue Buqun stated that if it wasn't for how many masters they lost in this internecine strife, it would've been Huashan that would've taken the leadership of the Five Mountains Alliance instead of Songshan. In fact, the strife which the KHBD brought to the world was a major motif of the story - it directly contributed to the deaths of the 10 demon sect elders, many Five Mountains Alliance elders, the split in Mt. Huashan, the destruction of the Lin clan, the destruction of the Qingcheng Sect, the fall of DFBB, and so much more.

    Second, and most importantly imo - the greatest theme is that neither internal energy nor techniques are the most important - the human heart is. As Feng Qingyang said, "the most devastating move in the world is not inside Kung Fu, but in setting up schemes, intrigues, and traps."

    This is repeated over and over again in XAJH. Just look at the back stories - the ten Demon Sect elders were superior to the Five Mountains Sect, but were ambushed and trapped and killed. Feng Qingyang was superior to the Demon Sect elders, but was tricked into a fake marriage and lured away, eventually resulting in him going into seclusion. Ren Woxing was superior to DFBB, but the latter made use of his focus on XXDF to trap him under the West Lake - and in turn, Ren Woxing used the KHBD to blunt DFBB's ambition, which he *had* noticed.

    This motif continues in the main story as well. Fang Zheng was superior to RWX in martial arts, but was tricked and defeated due to his kindness. RWX was superior to Zuo Lengchan, but was tricked and defeated due to his pride and overconfidence. Zuo Lengchan was superior to Yue Buqun, but was tricked and completely crushed as well. Even DFBB, the most powerful martial artist of the novel, was defeated due to Ren Yingying's quick thinking and her scheme of using Yang Lianting to distract DFBB.

    In Jinyong's earlier novels, both internal energy and techniques were viewed as quite important (look at how poorly Zhang Wuji performed with 'just' massive internal energy, before he got good techniques), but as his writing skills progressed, the human heart took on more and more prominence. This all culminated in what many considered to be his ultimate work, 'Duke of Mount Deer', where the protagonist Wei Xiaobao knew almost no martial arts but due to his cleverness was able to accomplish many, many great deeds. It's certainly something to think about!
    Read the latest chapters of Coiling Dragon at Wuxia World!

  4. #4
    Senior Member Mandred Skavenslayer's Avatar
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    The simple answer is that it comes down to the individual. As long as the method itself is sound then a clever and diligent individual could make anything work.

    On the specific schism of Hushan, the Qi long term/Sword short term argument seems to fall apart with Feng Qing Yang as not a single member of the Qi fraction from his generation dared to challenge him.

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    Senior Member Athena's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ren Wo Xing View Post
    Two thoughts.

    First, the qi-vs-sword debate in Huashan was an artificially induced one, brought about by a disagreement over the correct way to interpret the KHBD which the two Huashan brothers stole from Shaolin. Prior to this, presumably, the two sides were in harmony, and in fact Yue Buqun stated that if it wasn't for how many masters they lost in this internecine strife, it would've been Huashan that would've taken the leadership of the Five Mountains Alliance instead of Songshan. In fact, the strife which the KHBD brought to the world was a major motif of the story - it directly contributed to the deaths of the 10 demon sect elders, many Five Mountains Alliance elders, the split in Mt. Huashan, the destruction of the Lin clan, the destruction of the Qingcheng Sect, the fall of DFBB, and so much more.

    Second, and most importantly imo - the greatest theme is that neither internal energy nor techniques are the most important - the human heart is. As Feng Qingyang said, "the most devastating move in the world is not inside Kung Fu, but in setting up schemes, intrigues, and traps."

    This is repeated over and over again in XAJH. Just look at the back stories - the ten Demon Sect elders were superior to the Five Mountains Sect, but were ambushed and trapped and killed. Feng Qingyang was superior to the Demon Sect elders, but was tricked into a fake marriage and lured away, eventually resulting in him going into seclusion. Ren Woxing was superior to DFBB, but the latter made use of his focus on XXDF to trap him under the West Lake - and in turn, Ren Woxing used the KHBD to blunt DFBB's ambition, which he *had* noticed.

    This motif continues in the main story as well. Fang Zheng was superior to RWX in martial arts, but was tricked and defeated due to his kindness. RWX was superior to Zuo Lengchan, but was tricked and defeated due to his pride and overconfidence. Zuo Lengchan was superior to Yue Buqun, but was tricked and completely crushed as well. Even DFBB, the most powerful martial artist of the novel, was defeated due to Ren Yingying's quick thinking and her scheme of using Yang Lianting to distract DFBB.

    In Jinyong's earlier novels, both internal energy and techniques were viewed as quite important (look at how poorly Zhang Wuji performed with 'just' massive internal energy, before he got good techniques), but as his writing skills progressed, the human heart took on more and more prominence. This all culminated in what many considered to be his ultimate work, 'Duke of Mount Deer', where the protagonist Wei Xiaobao knew almost no martial arts but due to his cleverness was able to accomplish many, many great deeds. It's certainly something to think about!
    This is a great post and it is very perceptive. Martial arts lose to plots and schemes in the end. The most difficult to understand is the human heart. Ironically in Chinese there is saying: [华山险, 人心更加险】. This was an excellent read, Ren Wo Xing!

    One addendum though, it was tht Qi faction elders who set the trap of a fake marriage in Jiangnan, so Feng Qingyang couldn't enter the duels between Fi and Sword faction elders
    Last edited by Athena; 05-30-21 at 05:51 AM.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Junzi Tao View Post
    In SPW we see that Huashan had a major dispute over which should be the primary focus of their sword skills: qigong or techniques.

    As YBQ explained, the sword skills are faster to learn and very effective, while the qi users need more time to make progress. If I recall, he stated that at 10 years of training, the sword user would easily prevail, after 20 years it would depend on the combatants, and from 20 years onwards the Qi users would gradually overtake the sword users.

    We saw that Dugu had his own perspectives, as he used both supreme sword techniques as well as powerful inner energy, (9 swords and Heavy Iron Sword). In my own opinion, Huashan should have incorporated the factions, similar to the clean and dirty cloth factions in the Beggars clan. In most martial arts, you'd want a 70:30 split between your essentials and supplementary skills, so if a Huashan student chose to do that, they could choose to invest 70% into either Qi or Sword, and the remaining 30% into the other.

    Personally I'm a fan of using Qi, bit that doesn't mean I treat it as superior to technique users: if I didn't have techniques, I couldn't capitalise on opportunities, and if I didn't have inner strength, I couldn't opt to push for victories.

    What are your views?
    This is something I wrote last time:
    Quote Originally Posted by hyoyatika View Post
    I have always been debating how good was DFBB? Could he/she be better than ROCH Greats? Better than Xiao Feng? The feats that DFBB accomplished in SPW were insane. However, I think DFBB cannot defeat the Greats, as JY's intention.

    I need someone to pull out the exact excerpt, but in SPW, we had LHC and RWX taking on each other in sword skills. LHC's DG9J was winning, but RWX's roar based on internal energy knocked him out. In other words, even in SPW the novel itself, JY wanted to make it clear that internal energy is the most important thing. I always thought SPW was a novel in which JY finally deviated from his "internal energy > all", but apparently this wasn't the case.

    In TLBB, XZ and YTZ both went from nobodies to elite fighters after receiving internal boost. There was no mention about MRF's internal, and he was always at the losing end against top tier fighters. You had to have insane amount of internal before you could learn the top skill-6MSJ. The other top skill was an internal energy skill.

    In LOCH, the coveted skill was...well, 9Yin, an internal energy skill. OYK wasn't taught the Toad Stance because OYF deemed that OYK lacked sufficient internal energy. We saw how not one, but two Greats, could be "held" by a new rising hero if internal energy are not used. The number 1 declared and continually stayed revered by everyone in the novel, WCY, was known for his XTG, an internal energy skill. GJ saw improvement in his skills by leaps and bound after he understood how to unlock his internal energy.

    In ROCH, we have the ice bed, we saw YG focused so much on internal energy. We saw GWM doubled his internal energy.

    In HSDS, ZWJ owed his life to an internal energy skill. Also, insufficient internal energy=no QKDNY, the uber hax skill in HSDS (till 9yin). Like LOCH, this novel was centered around an internal energy-9 Yang.

    And in all the novels-TLBB, LOCH, ROCH and HSDS, having a lot of internal energy was always a sure way to impress people. For instance, in TLBB, XF was impressed by DY being able to force wine out from his fingertips even without fighting (and XF is not some country bumpkin who gets easily impressed). In HSDS, when ZM brought her army to Wudang, YTZ was overwhelmed by the lackey's internal energy.

    So in conclusion, I think JY is pretty clear-internal energy=most important thing.

    There might be one small flaw to point out however. FZ was versed in YJJ and RWX could hold his own against FZ. One way to reconcile this was that the YJJ in SPW was not the same as that in TLBB (this is something I think we all agreed, else FZ would easily be number 1, but he wasn't).

    The best fighter in SPW, was actually someone with great internal energy-Lin Yuan Tu. Now, we know he was from Shaolin origin and tasked with the job to bring back KHBD. I really don't see Shaolin sending out a weak fighter for such a task, so LYT was definitely a strong fighter, to say the least. I would reckon that he had a good/above base of internal energy, even if it wasn't named (remember, we have no idea what XF has either). So with that and KHBD/BXJF, LYT was able to become the best fighter, created an armed escort agency that was feared.

    Now this makes sense too. DFBB himself/herself had a decent internal energy as well. DFBB was number 3 in Sun Moon Cult during RWX's reign. I think it is fair to say DFBB was at least just marginally weaker than XWT (on the basis that RWX taught XWT more). However, DFBB was very ambitious and likely could had been on par with XWT by training even harder.

    Point-DFBB was the best in SPW not only because he/she had KHBD-he/she also had a good internal energy base. Any fighter worth his/her salt needs strong internal energy.

    Now we compare SPW against the Condor trilogy and/or TLBB. There is zero indication that the internal energy cultivation level was anywhere near that of the trilogy or TLBB.

    Conclusion: DFBB won't beat Trilogy Greats.
    and I still stand by it.

    JY's intent is always that inner energy is very important.

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